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Coastal Materials

Ocean basins serve as collecting bins for eroded debris that is washed from continents. Sources of sediment that end up in coastal environments, and ultimately the deep sea, are: (1) sedimentary debris produced by weathering and erosion of rocks on land; (2) grains derived from the hard parts of organisms, such as skeletal debris, shells, and teeth; (3) tiny grains—typically small, magnetic spheres and silicate chondrules (bit of asteroids originating from outer space, so-called extraterrestrial debris); (4) material, such as manganese nodules, that is precipitated by chemical or biochemical reactions in seawater; and (5) material, such as ash, that is ejected from volcanoes.

To learn more about sediments that make up coastlines, select a shell.